U.S. Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today announced a $2.4 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the Culinary Institute of the Pacific of Honolulu, Hawaii, to help expand the institute's training facilities located on the Diamond Head campus of the Kapiolani Community College. The investment will expand access to job training in the culinary arts sector and boost tourism. The project is expected to create 500 new jobs and generate $7 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.
"This $2.4 million investment in the Culinary Institute is an example of the Obama Administration's commitment to supporting America's travel and tourism industry by making sure Hawaii and other states are the top choices for international visitors," said Acting Secretary Blank. "Travel and tourism are America's number one services export, and are critical to job creation and economic growth. Yesterday, the Commerce Department reported that international visitors spent an estimated $14 billion on travel to and tourism-related activities within the U.S. during April. This investment in the Institute will not only help us maintain that record-setting pace, but also will provide workers and entrepreneurs in Hawaii with the skills they need to attract new customers, start their own businesses, and obtain higher-paying jobs."
"The Culinary Institute of the Pacific will be a state-of-the-art facility that expands on the expertise of Hawaii's world class chefs, farmers and restaurateurs by advancing a curriculum that combines the culinary arts with restaurant management and entrepreneurship," said Senator Daniel K. Inouye. "Students will work with locally grown produce and be able to fully explore and innovate the cross cultural cooking style of our islands while learning how to share that talent with our residents and visitors from around the world. I would like to thank the administration for investing in this job creating center that will support our vital visitor industry for generations to come."
"Hawaii's rich cultural diversity has produced some of the best food and most successful and renowned chefs in the world," said Senator Daniel Akaka. "This grant will help the Culinary Institute expand and groom more aspiring chefs so they can join Hawaii's restaurant industry, which creates jobs and promotes tourism in the islands. Investments in training and education improve lives and make a better future for Hawaii."
"This added investment in Hawaii's visitor industry comes at an excellent time," said Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. "The state's most recent tourism numbers are strong. A number of airlines including United and our own Hawaiian Airlines have just launched non-stop service from the East Coast. And soon, Kapiolani Community College's world class Culinary Institute of the Pacific will be able to expand its job training facilities and programs. Earlier this year, I visited with the talented students of the Culinary Institute, who had their skills on full display. Their delicious and diverse dishes foreshadow successful food industry careers like those of graduates Alan Wong and Sam Choy, two of Hawaii's finest ambassador chefs."
"This investment in Hawaii's Culinary Institute of the Pacific benefits not only the Institute itself, but also our students and our state," said Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa. "Hawaii's growing reputation as a destination for food lovers from around the world certainly benefits our visitor industry. In addition, expanding opportunities for local chefs to train at home helps ensure that our own cultural and culinary traditions remain vibrant in world cuisine. But perhaps most important of all, the advance training that this grant helps facilitate will allow and encourage our home-grown talent to find their own voice, make their own mark, and set their own future in the culinary world."
The EDA investment helps fund the construction of the Culinary Institute's advanced instruction labs, which will provide training in a variety of cuisines and in restaurant management. The new facility will enhance a program of study that gives students the skills they need to manage and operate small to medium-sized restaurants and will strengthen Hawaii's position as a tourist destination.
Commerce recently released data showing that 62 million international visitors traveled to the U.S. in 2011, generating a record $153 billion in receipts and a $43 billion trade surplus. International and domestic tourism spending increased 8.1 percent, supporting an additional 103,000 jobs for a total of 7.6 million Americans employed in travel and tourism industries or in industries that support them. Further, 1.2 million jobs are supported directly by international traveler spending within the United States and on U.S. carriers.
In May, the White House released a new National Travel and Tourism Strategy, charting a new course toward making America a more attractive and accessible destination than ever before. The goal is to draw 100 million international visitors by 2021, which is expected to generate $250 billion annually in visitor spending by 2012. The strategy also encourages more Americans to travel within the United States.
According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, tourism is the largest single source of private capital into Hawaii, with total visitor spending in Hawaii in 2011 reaching $12.581 billion, an increase of 15.6 percent from $10.880 billion in 2010.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.